Chinese Scientists Completed the Sequencing of Vanilla Orchid Whole Genome
Date: Thursday, Feb 12, 2015
Categories: Orchid event report

    Accounting for 10% of the plant species around the world, Orchidaceae is one of the biggest and the most highly evolved plant families and the excellent model species in the study of biodiversity, evolution and biological conservation. Vanilla is an orchid genus and a large typical spice plant of tropical rainforest, and is mainly distributed in island countries such as Madagascar, Indonesia, Comorin, Uganda, Seychelles and Mexico. 

    In July 2014, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University and the National Orchid Conservation Center of China lead the “Vanilla Genome Sequencing Project” and have accomplished the whole genome and transcriptome sequencing of Vanilla and its related species.

    At present, the whole genome sequencing of Vanilla shenzhenica has been finished. Approximately, 260 Gb raw reads, involved in 325X sequencing depth, have been obtained from the Hiseq2500 platform. Its genome size and heterozygous rate were estimated to be 800 Mb and 1.14%, respectively, which suggest that the Vanilla genome is highly complex. The assembly results show that the Scaffold N50 is 288 Kb and Contig N50 is 22 Kb, and about 29,000 genes.

    Thanks to the “Vanilla Genome Sequencing Project”, Vanilla is the first sequenced vine orchid and also the first well-known spice plant in the world. The completion of the project will promote the research of Vanilla’s unique aroma and medical value, and construct the theoretic foundation for the origin and evolution of Orchidaceae. It will also facilitate the development of Vanilla industry and even the related industry chain of Orchidaceae. It is of great significance for the conservation and breeding innovation of orchid, and elevation of the biology and biodiversity research in our country, and is a sign of the further maturation of the genome sequencing techniques of China.